I’ve been hand cultivating the big area in front of where our bathroom addition was made last fall. Construction ended in October, much too late to get a good start on growing the grass. So I decided this Spring would be better. But rain made that an impossibility, rain and snow. We had snow on April 16th for crying out loud.
So the sad task of hacking into dried hard ground fell to me. I had considered purchasing a roto-tiller. My dad had more than a few when I grew up as a kid in Virginia. He even got a free one that was missing a belt and the engine was rather dicey. But he resuscitated it, and eventually bought a big expensive $700 model with big drive wheels and counter-rotating tines. That thing could dig a furrow to China if you kept gassing it.
So why not buy a roto-tiller? I looked at the small ones, even the electric ones and none of these seemed like they were going to cut through the clay, cement, rocks and roots I now know resided just below the surface. So I opted for the cowards way out (something I tend to always fall into) and decided to take a pick axe and do it by HAND. Well, 14 hours of work later, I got a bunch of rocks out and have cut up the sod that grew back into the wounded area. Grass was by far the hardest part to remove. After the second day, I decided a better tool was in order. I decided to go for an Azada (it’s like an Adze) and it arrived yesterday.
I immediately wiped danish tung oil on the handle to keep it from cracking and went outside to use it. An azada was the right tool for pulling up the grass, but for that hard clay ground, I discovered the pick axe was better. Around the last half hour of work last night, my arms got so tired using the Azada and I had so little left to do, I gave up and got the axe. That thing went through the last 3 feet of ground like it was loose gravel. The Azada could not cut into the soil because of the damned rocks. Every swing, I could hear that familiar clang of rock contact. I think I may go back to the website where I ordered the original Azada and get another one. The pointed tip Azada is touted as being good for rocky soil, so maybe a whole library of tools would be the best option. No one tool is the always going to make sod busting go easier.
I’m thinking now after it’s all overwith a pointed Azada might have been preferable and I’ll say why. The pick axe no doubt was productive but excruciatingly slow. The wide blade Azada was good, but when you would hit rocks, dead stop. So it was back and forth from Azada to Pick Axe picking through rocks all the way. Whenever I would get to a section without rocks it would go fast with the Azada. Looks like I need to purchase another tool.